Whether you’re still buzzing from a busy day, or twitching from too much TV… Here are some go to tips to help soothe you off to sleep…
1 ) B a l a s a n a ( C h i l d ‘ s P o s e )
This one works for me almost every time. The gentle pressure on the forehead encourages the back of the neck to lengthen, and it’s possible that’s where there’s a lot of held tension, especially if you’ve been sitting at a computer for much of the day.
Physically the body ‘closes down’, curled up in a comfy, supported ball gives the brain a signal of ‘safety’, that’s a good condition to encourage sleep too!
- Ensure the balls of the big toes are touching
- Place a pillow between the hips and the heels if they don’t comfortably meet
- DON’T put pressure through the knees, try something different if it hurts.
- DON’T squish the baby (not for you if you’re pregnant)
- Experiement with draping the arms beside the body or stretched out in front.
- Experiment with having the knees together or hip distance apart
2 ) E x t e n d t h e o u t b r e a t h
Bring some focused awareness to the breath. You might notice that it seems restricted, which may be because it’s focused in the upper chest cavity.
Through the course of the day, and when we’re under stress it’s common to hold tension in the diaphragm, which may begin to restrict our full range of breath.
Extending the out breath encourages release through the diaphragm, by engaging our deep core muscles. Try it now, breath out as though you’re blowing through a straw, and keep going until there’s nothing left… You may have noticed your abs engage, and then the belly rise as the inhale draws in from the deep belly.
Start by counting the breath, in for 4 counts, out for 6 counts. Extend to breath out for 8 counts or more. You may begin to sense a deeper feeling of calm and awareness of the weight of the body.
3 ) L a v e n d e r e s s e n t i a l o i l
Lavender has a sedative effect on the body (It comes down to chemistry). I went lavender picking in Mitchum a few years ago and after a couple of hours it was like that scene in the Wizard of Oz in the poppy fields! We managed not to fall asleep on the job, but it was a lovely example of the sedative power of lavender.
Pure Essential oil of lavender is stream distilled from the flowers, so just a few drops on your pillow could have you dozing off in no time. At the very least it can help calm and soothe any tension that may be leading to insomnia.
- If you don’t like essential oils on your pillows, put a few drops on a tissue and place on a warm radiator.
- Buy pure essential oil (not synthetic fragrace oil) a reputable company such as Neal’s Yard or Butterbur & Sage in the UK provide quality essential oils. If in doubt look for the latin ‘lavandula angustifolia’ or the ‘Aromark’ seal of quality.
4 ) B l o o d S u g a r
Urgh. This one is nearly always the cause of my insomnia. If I go to a glass of wine and / or (usually both) chocolate in the evening I nearly always go to bed with the sugar twitches. A spike in blood sugar late in the evening can keep us awake for several hours.
Makes sense really, sugar hits our system quickly, providing energy to perform, so unless you’ve got several hours of zumba scheduled before bed, its possible that putting enough space between the chocolate and going to bed, could really help in winding down.
5 ) D o n ‘ t j u d g e . . .
If nothing works, at least don’t be hard on yourself. Sometimes the frustration of not falling asleep can be more disturbing that the insomnia itself. Bringing awareness to your feelings about insomina and having compassion for yourself is a nurturing choice. Make a cup of chamomile tea, enjoy the quite and start the process over again…